March 6, 2017 / 7:47 AM / 5 months ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mostly soft early on, ex-dividend Barwa pulls down Qatar

DUBAI, March 6 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets were mostly soft in early trade on Monday with Barwa Real Estate pulling down Qatar as the company went ex-dividend.

Qatar's index slid 0.7 percent as Barwa sank 7.8 percent to 36.60 riyals, nearing technical support at 35.85 riyals, the edge of an early February gap. The board recommended a cash dividend of 2.5 riyals per share, up from the previous year's 2.2 riyals.

Dubai's index edged down 0.2 percent with nine of the 10 most heavily traded stocks weak, although the most active, builder Arabtec, rebounded 2.5 percent after heavy losses in the past week.

The Saudi Arabian index slipped 0.1 percent in the first half-hour as Saudi Electricity fell 1.0 percent.

The stock had surged but then pulled back on Sunday after news that the government had cut a fee which the company pays to municipalities. The regulatory change will result in a 6.1 billion riyal ($1.6 billion) non-recurring gain for the company this year and reduce its operating expenses in future, it said. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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